Love Book 7.
Striking the right
note could shatter more than their hearts.
attack that slaughtered his family, vampire Dragan Zajicek walled off
and went on a sixteen-hundred-year rampage with the bad boys of
rock star of the concert podium and master freelance spy, he’s taken
for a small orchestra near Chicago to investigate rumors of a
undefeatable vampire dubbed the Soul Stealer.
the lovely, unassuming Raquel “Rocky” Hrbek who mesmerizes him from the
touch of her luscious lips on her flute.
shy shadow scarred by middle school cruelty, is mystified as to why
core-meltingly gorgeous Dragan would notice a mouse like her. As his
kisses draw her dangerously close to the edge of her carefully
comfort zone, he exposes her secret—she’s investigating the monster
quest draws them closer together, the monster zeroes in on the woman
rebellious heart tells him is his mate. Now they must find a way to
indestructible before Rocky is utterly consumed. And Chicago is bathed
blood of innocents.
Warning: Contains a
seduction and symphonies, an awkward and innocent flutist, small-town
heart-stopping action, and an exodus to Iowa. Oh, and the cheese balls
ba-a-ack—and deadlier than ever.
"Laugh-out-loud funny with lots of romance and bit of intrigue, hot
vampires and just the thing to read to get over the “after the
holiday’s” doldrums." ~
Kitty, Guilty Pleasures
Book of the Month March 2014
"Made me laugh out
loud, brought me to tears, and made me sigh at the more than happy
ending. I highly recommend
"I loved watching as he and Rocky grew closer, and the many ways he
showed Rocky how special she is to him. And it was a delight to see
Rocky work through his issues, and finally convince this strong, risk
taking and courageous vampire to take one more chance…on love." ~
An excerpt from
Copyright © 2014 Mary
Hughes All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
accompany you, Ms. Hrbek?”
and nearly tripped. Zajicek caught my wrist to steady me. His fingers
and slender but amazingly strong—and fiercely warm. Like iron filings
magnet, my skin aligned instantly to him. Hot sensation juddered
knocking me even more off balance. I scrambled to regain my
equilibrium, only to
have my feet scud into one of the semi-vertical sidewalk stones. My
slipped off my shoulder and nosedived into the crook of my arm, yanking
sideways. I went down.
arms wrapped around me and saved me from severe pavement burn. The arms
gentle righting me, and I stood in their comforting embrace a moment to
breath back. A strong heart beat under my cheek. My palms pressed
crisp cotton. The body under the cotton was a solid, cloth-covered
unlike my own soft limbs. I shivered.
all right, Ms. Hrbek?” Zajicek’s deep honeyed tones, tinged with
came from somewhere over my head.
Not the snappiest of rejoinders but I was cheek-to-massive-chest with
Zajicek, the posterboy I’d had the hots for half my life.
definitely not pasteboard now. The longer I stood there the more I
ridge of his taut abdomen, the roped muscles of his long thighs, the
his belt buckle; they all became alarmingly three-dimensional. His warm
stirred my hair. Something else stirred too, at hip level…and silent
rippled through him.
churned. The intimate way he held me made no sense, but the laughter,
clumsiness had lightened the room on more than one occasion.
Zajicek’s long fingers slid under my chin, raising my face. His
were shuttered by slumberous lids. I stared in bemusement as his face
in my vision…
Smooth. Exciting. “Some Enchanted Evening” sang through my right brain.
brain locked up in utter confusion. A man was kissing me. Zajicek
was kissing me. The sum of my kissing experience was a
slobbery grandmother and a few rushed awkward sexual encounters. I
saw what the fuss was about. Until Zajicek.
thought kisses were simply the press of lips. His mouth didn’t simply anything. It rubbed, it tasted,
it gently teased. Warm, velvety soft, his tongue began to explore.
there in stupefied awe.
murmured against my lips, “How clumsy you are, Ms. Hrbek. How very
was here to catch you.”
thought I’d done it on purpose.
struggled out of his embrace. He was slow letting go, his fingers firm
arms. With a little tilt of his head, he perused me. Whatever he saw on
made him release me with an extravagant sigh. “I beg your pardon.
flushed, because he hadn’t misread my “desires” at all. Just my
jerked my flute bag onto my shoulder and started determinedly toward my
fiercely watching my feet on the uneven sidewalk. “No biggie. What did
legs kept graceful pace with me. “Call me Dragan, please. Maestro is so
first name? It implied an intimacy I couldn’t afford. “You call me Ms.
but perhaps you would allow me the familiarity of your first name as
tone was coaxing.
a look at him, immediately returning my attention to the stones,
although I was
beginning to think Zajicek was more treacherous than my footing. “If
After all, you’ll be seeing us weekly for a while.”
you and I will be seeing a great deal more of each other, hmm?”
My stomach flipped, my attention disintegrated and the elevated corner
concrete slab cold-cocked my foot. I tripped and would have fallen
again if not
for Zajicek’s lightning reflexes. He caught me in his arms, steadying
Senses reeling, I let him, my forebrain scolding idiot
but my lizard brain panting and presenting its tail. Before I
could completely self-combust, he brushed a thumb over my cheek and
you mean by that?” I croaked. Catching my flute bag to my chest, I
trotted off, fast, too fast, almost running, nearly stumbling yet
a conscious effort to slow down, I cleared my throat. “Why would you
of me than any other orchestra member?”
staying in Meiers Corners for the duration of Mr. Banger’s recovery.
what I wished to discuss with you. I have only just arrived in the
like to follow you home this evening.”
Zajicek in all his powerful, elegant glory, driving behind me? My
meter was pinging red alert, core
meltdown imminent. “You don’t need to. I can tell you how to go.
But it’s late and I would not wish to become lost.”
my mouth to say no, heard my voice say, “Oka—” and snapped my jaw shut
teeth sparked. Problem was, I liked being with him—which, considering I
practically wearing my heart on my sleeve, was dangerous. What if he
his kiss was the first real one of my life, and had utterly demolished
politely waiting for an answer. Politely, as if the whole of my pitiful
wasn’t in the balance.
to see it from his point of view. The man wanted help getting around. A
directions, not my soul. Simple neighborliness would do. I breathed
managed to rasp out, “Sure. No problem, Mr. Zajicek.”
smiled and slipped his arm around mine. “Dragan, please.” His hip
against my side as we walked.
respiration rate shot through the roof. I gritted my teeth. Simple
neighborliness, yeah, right. Like your basic neighborhood raging
“Okay. First names. I’m Rocky.”
That’s a boy’s name.”
nickname,” I admitted.
your real name?”
friend, Nixie Emerson, once told me names have power. In her case, she
her kicky middle name instead of “Dietlinde”, her dull-as-dust first.
that was appropriate. Nixie was short and punk and smart as a whip—and
smart-mouthed too, though she reined it in around her new baby.
case though, my “real” name was not appropriate. Anti-appropriate, in
mom named me Raquel, after Raquel Welch, the sex-goddess of the
while Nixie’s name was right and good, mine was a joke. And considering
nega-love-life, a rather nasty one at that. “Rocky’s good enough, Mr.
he murmured, somehow pulling me closer. The heat of his body licked
up my side. I hissed and shifted my flute bag between us, but as a
backfired. Zajicek simply plucked the bag from my hands. “Shall I carry
don’t have to. No, wait—”
It is quite light.” He shifted my bag onto his own shoulder, not the
between us. The strap wrapped itself over his muscles like a second
skin, and I
swear it moaned happily.
Zajicek curled one hand around my waist and pulled me so close I could
breathe. I tried to, really I did. But every tentative inhale brought
of him, cotton and sandalwood and burning masculinity. Every movement
ribcage scraped the side of my breast against his arm, until I was
with the need to rub blatantly against him. Every breath drew cool air
tongue…yikes, I was lolling like a dog in heat.
glasses fogged up, and I stumbled again.
Zajicek’s arms went around me. I felt incredibly clumsy and stupid,
rescue me continually from my own feet. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Zajicek—”
he murmured, cupping my chin and lifting my face for another soft kiss.
lips touched mine, his mouth moving in tiny circles as if to warm my
didn’t need to. I was plenty warm already—and a little buzzy.
taste wonderful.” His mouth opened and his tongue teased the seam of my
at the touch but Zajicek held me, so securely I relaxed into his arms.
seemed to be some sort of cue for him to lick me and slide his tongue
my lips, encouraging me to part them.
so nicely, with tiny hot licks. So I did.
instant my mouth opened he devoured me. His mouth slanted over mine and
dropped. Heat rushed in. I gasped. Shocked and a little scared, I fell
but he stepped with me, wrapped his arm around my back and trapped me
had to bend quite a ways to do it.
arched like a bow, my breasts crushed to his chest, my hips to his
Something stirred against my belly, sending a jolt shearing through me.
tingled and my breasts tingled and I was getting really tingly between
my hands between us to try to wedge open some space. All I succeeded in
was fitting my palms to the hardest pectorals in the world.
tingling between my legs was starting to drive me insane.
mouth left mine to trail licks and nibbles down my jaw to my throat. He
me there, an odd dark rumble coming from his chest, almost a lion’s
smell divine. Ah, to taste you fully.” His tongue rasped over my pulse.
along the way his hand had found my breast and was kneading and cupping
he sucked gently on the tender skin of my neck until my head spun.
fingers found my raised nipple and plucked.
thousand Christmas lights went on in my head. I shrieked.